Wednesday, May 4, 2016
► In the Seattle Times — For first time, Boeing reveals state tax breaks: $305 million in 2015 — Boeing saved $305 million in state taxes last year, thanks to Washington’s suite of aerospace tax incentives granted by lawmakers to keep the company building jets here. It’s the first time Boeing’s annual benefit from the state tax breaks has been released… Since that tax-incentive package was passed by lawmakers in November 2013, the company has shed more than 5,600 workers in the state, moving thousands of engineering jobs to lower-cost regions. More cuts are planned this year by the company, which has cited competitive pressure to reduce costs. “That’s Boeing’s thank you to Washington,” said SPEEA spokesman Bill Dugovich. Said IAM 751 Legislative Director Larry Brown: “We still do support the tax incentives, but only if it means that we maintain and grow aerospace jobs in Washington.”
ALSO TODAY at The Stand — As Boeing cuts jobs here, we’re paying to boost its stock price (by John Burbank)
► In today’s Seattle Times — Boeing’s historic tax break from state even bigger than thought (by Danny Westneat) — In 2015, Boeing got tax breaks and credits totaling $305 million — which is 55 percent more than the state estimated the entire aerospace industry would cash in for that year. The first-of-their-kind figures raise the possibility that the biggest tax break in history was actually lowballed at the time… the tax credits have been so rich that in 2015 they drove Boeing’s business and occupation tax bill almost all the way down to zero.
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Aerospace isn’t the only industry that benefits from state tax breaks — Individuals, business and other taxpayers are expected to avoid about $20 billion in taxes this year thanks to a long list of tax breaks. That is more than Washington actually expects to collect from taxes.
► In today’s Tri-City Herald — State AG considers legal options to protect Hanford workers — Washington state’s attorney general is exploring further legal options to keep Hanford workers safe from chemical vapors. The announcement came after a day when six more Hanford workers received medical evaluations for possible exposure to chemical vapors.
PUBLIC SERVICE RECOGNITION
► From WFSE — Former WFSE/AFSCME President Howard Jorgenson has died — Howard Jorgenson — “Jorgie” to all who knew and loved him — president of the Washington Federation of State Employees, AFSCME Council 28 from 1972 until his retirement in 1997, died Monday, May 2, surrounded by family. “It can be safely said that no other Federation president served longer or with more dedication then Jorgie,” said former WFSE Deputy Director Mark Brown. “Sad news for the entire AFSCME family. RIP my friend and mentor.”
► In today’s News Tribune — Puyallup school bus driver recounts rescuing kids from burning vehicle — Ron Kitts knows the kids on his Puyallup school bus well. “I see them every day, twice a day,” he said. And when their bus burst into flames on the way to school Monday, that relationship helped them work together to get to safety. “It was so scary,” he said. “And it happened fast.”
► In the Yakima H-R — Group marches 27 miles through Yakima Valley to continue Cesar Chavez’s work — Ricardo Garcia was there when Cesar Chavez led the long march from Granger to Yakima 30 years ago with hundreds of activists alongside him. On Sunday, the 77-year-old joined a new generation of Latino activists emulating the 1986 march to renew calls for immigration reform with a path to citizenship for the undocumented and better pay for laborers. “There has been good progress in pay and health care since then, but immigration reform is the biggest problem,” said Garcia. “We need protective legislation to bring about social change.”
► In the Seattle Times — Hundreds rally, march in Seattle for labor, immigration reforms — Hundreds of families, students and activists marched peacefully from the Central District to downtown Seattle on Sunday, calling for changes in the laws that make it difficult for immigrants to gain citizenship here.
► In the (Longview) Daily News — Weyerhaeuser to sell 7 pulp mills to International Paper — Weyerhaeuser announced it’s selling seven of its pulp mills to International Paper Co. for $2.2 billion as part of broader move to steer away from the pulp industry. The company’s Longview liquid packaging plant and NORPAC were not included in the transaction, but they’re still up for sale.
► In the Bellingham Herald — Ferndale Intalco’s smelter to stay open into 2018 — Alcoa and the BPA have finalized a power deal amendment to keep the Intalco aluminum smelter operating. The amendment lasts through Feb. 14, 2018, while the 10-year contract between Alcoa and BPA lasts until September 2022.
► From UFCW 21 — Skagit Regional Health members overwhelmingly vote NO — Skagit Regional Health members have overwhelmingly vote to reject management’s contract proposal, continuing to call for internal equity, fair pay for everyone, a progressive wage scale, education, safe staffing, and the ability to recruit and retain.
► In today’s NY Times — Lured by Seattle’s tech boom, but being left behind — As tens of thousands of newcomers and longtime residents are finding, the allure of the tech economy comes with big risks and dangers in the rapidly climbing housing and rent prices that have shocked them. The boom has brought with it a crisis of homelessness that the mayor has declared an emergency.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Seattle City Council kills sale of street for Sodo arena; Sonics fans despair — In a 5-4 decision, the Seattle City Council voted against giving up part of Occidental Avenue South to entrepreneur Chris Hansen for his arena.
► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Spokane Rep. Kevin Parker won’t seek re-election — Rep. Kevin Parker, a Spokane Republican who rose to his party’s No. 2 spot on the powerful Appropriations Committee, will not seek re-election this fall.
► In today’s NY Times — Donald Trump all but clinches GOP race with Indiana win; Ted Cruz quits — Trump became the presumptive Republican presidential nominee on Tuesday with a landslide win in Indiana that drove his principal opponent, Senator Ted Cruz, from the race and cleared the way for the polarizing, populist outsider to take control of the party.
► In today’s Washington Post — Sanders upsets Clinton but does not alter course of Democratic race — Sen. Bernie Sanders scored a fresh rationale to remain in the race, despite Hillary Clinton’s wide delegate lead.
► In today’s NY Times — Clinton widens lead over Trump in poll — The CNN/ORC poll shows Hillary Clinton with 54 percent of respondents’ support, compared with 41 percent for Donald Trump. The poll suggested that her support is driven heavily by aversion to a Trump candidacy.
► From TPM — How Donald Trump dooms Republicans way beyond 2016 — Polls show him deeply vulnerable against Hillary Clinton, and he could cost Republicans the Senate and, according to some analyses, put their House majority in peril. But the longer term threat Trump poses to the GOP is in some ways more vexing. After a Trump drubbing, the party could very well be in the exact same position it found itself in in 2008 and 2012, re-litigating a core question: Is the GOP losing because its candidates aren’t conservative enough — or because it’s banking on a narrow, white constituency that is being eclipsed by a growing minority population?
► In the Orlando Weekly — Equal pay for women is priority in 2016 election, AFL-CIO official says — The top issue for women in the workforce is still being paid less for doing the same work as men, despite being about half of the labor force, says AFL-CIO secretary-treasurer Liz Shuler.
► From Politico — New immigration fight looms in Congress — Lawmakers on both sides of the Capitol are quietly launching a new effort to expand H-2B visas for low-skilled foreign workers in government funding bills — a push that could drive a deep ideological rift through both parties later this year. Republicans and Democrats are lobbying top appropriators to include language in this year’s funding bills to renew controversial provisions from last year’s omnibus spending measure that effectively quadrupled the number of low-skilled worker visas. Nine House lawmakers sent a letter last week urging the Appropriations Committee to keep those higher numbers intact.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Among the nine signatories to this letter: retiring Rep. Jim McDermott (D-7th).
► From The Hill — White House weighs overtime rule changes — Industry and nonprofit groups are pushing back against several aspects of the rule, including the proposed salary maximum for earning overtime pay, the annual adjustment rate for overtime wages and the deadline for businesses to comply.
► From AP — Advocates: High court signals it won’t stop $15 minimum wage — The U.S. Supreme Court weighed in for the first time Monday on a $15-an-hour minimum wage, signaling it does not plan to stop the movement that is spreading across the nation, worker advocates say. The justices refused to hear a challenge to Seattle’s law, which franchise owners said discriminates against them by treating them as large businesses. It comes as several other cities and a group of states, including California and New York, have started to phase in a $15 minimum wage in recent months as the cost of living keeps rising.
► From Huffington Post — Airline profits soar to jaw-dropping record in 2015 — The Department of Transportation reported Monday that 25 U.S. airline companies combined in 2015 for after-tax earnings of $25.6 billion — a more than threefold increase over the $7.5 billion in profits one year earlier. Last year’s profits were largely driven by a huge drop in the price of jet fuel without much change in what you pay for flying.
► In today’s Washington Post — Detroit schools back in session after promise teachers will be paid — Union leaders urged teachers to return to work after two days of sickouts that kept more than 46,000 students out of classes.
► From Bloomberg — Verizon, unions hold the line as strike continues — Although Verizon made a “last, best and final” contract offer April 28, the move isn’t likely to end the strike of approximately 39,000 workers any time soon, industry analysts say.
► In the NY Times — China’s steel makers undercut rivals as trade debate intensifies — The steel industry sits at the crux of a major debate playing out across the world economy, one that could soon be intensified by a looming change in the global trade rules. As China’s economy has slowed, the country’s manufacturers, in varied areas like solar panels, tires, aluminum and shoes, have been in a desperate hunt to maintain sales and avoid layoffs. Looking beyond their borders, many are offering rock-bottom prices to win orders. The heavy discounting has fed a backlash. Politicians like the American presidential candidates Donald J. Trump and Bernie Sanders are railing against free trade, saying the rules hurt domestic workers. Countries are crying foul, claiming that Chinese exporters are dumping goods. And the dynamics are getting more complicated, as a crucial provision of global trade rules expires in December.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.